Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Food Truck #4: Noble House Plated Lunch

I have been trying to get to Noble House Hawaiian Plate Lunch for over a month now. I just have a hectic schedule and work through the lunch hour, so I usually miss them by the time I'm off work. So today, I heard they were going to be at 21st and Fairlawn until 6, unless they ran out of food. So, I booked it over there when I got off work and ordered me some Hawaiian food.

I've seen the bright blue truck at the Topeka Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, but I'm not much for fried Spam and eggs, so I haven't ordered from there until today. My husband, however, has and he liked it when he got it. I'm sure you would, too if you like Spam and eggs.

Today I ordered the Chicken Katsu. Fried chunks of chicken on top of white rice smothered in a brown gravy sprinkled with sesame seeds. The gravy reminds me of typical brown beef gravy with a comforting flavor. I wouldn't say it tasted like beef gravy, though, I'm not really sure what it tasted like, but it was good to me. The rice was cooked well, nice and fluffy and I could eat just that with the gravy it was so good.  The chicken was fried crispy, with a Panko-style bread crumb, and still juicy inside. I liked the breading because it was so crispy, even smothered in gravy and after driving home. I was impressed with that because I don't like soggy fried foods, and I wasn't disappointed with this dish when I got it home.

Also, there was so much food, I shared it with my mom and her friend. We each got a good sized portion, and I was full when I finished. They both liked the food, too.

The meal came with some pasta salad, which I enjoyed because it was different. It appears to be typical creamy potato salad, but when it hits your tongue you know immediately there is something different. It's a sweet taste, but I can't place it. I don't have much experience with Hawaiian flavors, so next time, I really need to ask some questions. There will be a next time! There were chunks of carrots and black olives, but not many. It wasn't my favorite dish, but I liked it because it wasn't what I was expecting and the change was nice, so I ate all of it. (I didn't share the pasta salad, haha.)

I hope to get back to Noble House sometime soon so I can try something else on their menu. At the Farmers Market they have a different menu, but the one pictured here is the menu I've seen them use at most other events or on their regular days. Follow them on Facebook so you can get updates about where they will be on any given day and photos of their other food. They will even post if they aren't going to be out and about.

Chef Akamu, the owner, is friendly and told me he's only been moved here to Topeka officially, for about a year. The food truck started up in November 2014. I love that Topeka is embracing the food trucks including one with Hawaiian food. If you haven't yet, get out and try something different. Then, let me know what you think by commenting on my post.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cook's American Grill

A friend recommended Cook's American Grill, and I wasn't disappointed when I took her advice. I've driven past this place a million times and can't believe I've never stopped by.

I should've tried Cook's a long time ago.

I walked in and immediately could feel the down-home glow of the place, which I love. When I looked around I saw a lot of older couples eating lunch, families and working men on lunch break -- my kinda place. I felt at home and welcome in a place I'd never been.
 I ordered at the counter -- a chicken fried chicken with corn and mashed potatoes -- got my drink and silverware and found a spot to sit. Not long after, the waitress brought my meal.

The chicken fried chicken is breaded in-house and the mashed potatoes had chunks of potatoes in it so I'm assuming they are mashed in-house, too. It's hard to say on the gravy but either way it's creamy, peppery and tasty. The chicken is breaded just right and has a crispiness to it, while still being juicy and tender on the inside. I didn't even need a knife to cut into it.

I also liked the corn. Big, sweet kernels coated with butter and sprinkled with a little salt and pepper
Chicken Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes and corn
just like I like it. A roll was also served with the meal, but it was really just a plain dinner roll. It was good, but everything else was better.

Dessert is also available but I'll have to try that next time. I was way full because I ate my entire chicken fried chicken platter and drank a bunch of Dr. Pepper.

In addition to home-style dinners, Cook's offers deli sandwiches, hot sandwiches, hamburgers and salads. I also just saw on their menu some fried pickles and fried mushrooms. Those are in my future. There's also a breakfast menu and I want to try that soon. They aren't open on Sundays, though and that's the day I usually go to breakfast. I'll have to check them out on a Saturday sometime.

Also, if you can't get enough of Tasting Topeka, check out seveneightfive magazine, where I'll be extending my blog to print once a month. Those posts will be in the magazine first, then eventually they'll appear on my blog. Don't forget to pick your copy up at your local bar or restaurant around town. Give 'em a like on Facebook, too.